Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Blogger Hop May 18th - May 24th: Rome Won the Battle of Adis and Lost the Battle of Tunis in 255 B.C.

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What were your worst movies based off of books?

So many of the books I love have been adapted into mediocre to miserable movies that, for the most part, I have given up on expecting a good movie adaptation of books that I like.

For example, Dune was adapted into a movie in the early 1980s. I love Frank Herbert's novel Dune, but the movie is simply not very good. The movie also mangles the story, throwing ray guns into a story that explicitly didn't have them, and wasting time with pointless scenes involving "folding space". The movie is a bloated monstrosity with hilariously miscast actors struggling through scenes involving whispers and voiceovers. As far as filmed versions go, I prefer the miniseries that aired on the SciFi channel, although that has a lot of issues as well, mostly stemming from the limited budget it was provided.

Another movie that fails to measure up to the book is the adaptation of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, which is a good (although often controversial) book that was made into a hamfisted, slapdash movie. Everything about the movie is half-assed, from the costuming, to the special effects, to the acting, to the incredibly poorly written script. The movie wasn't originally written as an adaptation of the book, and Veerhoven didn't bother to read more than a chapter or two after securing the rights to the name. This sort of lazy approach is apparent throughout the entire film.

The worst film adaptation of a story that I can recall is actually an adaptation of a work of short fiction: Issac Asimov's Nightfall, The story is a classic of science fiction involving a planet with six suns that almost never experiences night. In the story, night does fall for the first time in a thousand years, and the inhabitants do not deal with the darkness very well. The movie keeps the outlines of this premise, but mangles it into a low budget mush involving crystal swords, lots of wind chimes, and an entirely unneeded love triangle.

Those are just the offenders that sprang to mind first. Even as I wrote this out, I thought of several terrible film adaptations of books I like: Peter Jackson's version of The Hobbit, the adaptation of Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising, the adaptation of Lloyd Alexander's Black Cauldron, and so on and so forth. There are just so many bad movie adaptations of good books that I sometimes wonder why movie studios bother trying to adapt books at all.

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  1. I saw the TV miniseries of Dune and thought it rather slow going, possibly because it WAS fairly faithful to the book. Maybe that book shouldn’t have been filmed at all. I agree Starship Troopers was woeful. The producer and director of The Dark Is Rising should be chased eternally by Herne and his Wild Hunt. They turned the wonderful characters into idiots and please, please tell me why it was necessary to make Will American?

    1. @Sue: Dune is a relatively difficult story to adapt to film, as most of its action takes the form of what amounts to courtly intrigue, and the story revolves around a bunch of religious and philosophical ideas. I wouldn't necessarily say that the SciFi channel miniseries was good, but merely that it was better than the Lynch movies adaptation.

  2. I can't say that I've actually watched most of the films that you mentioned, but I have seen 'The Hobbit' series and I've also seen that same answer crop up a few times this week.

    It's unfortunate when a film completely botches the story of a book, but it's typical of Hollywood to do so. They can easily take a story from a book and say that it's an 'adaptation', but then they're going to change a lot of elements for it to appeal to as large of an audience as possible. It's all to do with making the biggest profit, unfortunately, and most of the time they don't try to stay true to the books anyway.

    Feel free to check out my own answer if you wish!

    - Charlotte (InkBlottings)

    1. @C InkBlottings: Mangling a story when adapting it to film seems to be way too common for it to be accidental. I always wonder why Hollywood goes to the trouble of obtaining the rights to books to make into movies if they are just going to ignore what made the story in the book worthwhile.